Minister for Culture Owen Bonnici has to be taken on credit that the method statement for the restoration of the Great Siege Monument exists since he said that it had been compiled. However, repeated requests by Newsbook.com.mt for it have remained unanswered and a request by Newsbook to Minister Bonnici received the cryptic reply “I think restoration works in Malta were never subject to any controversy”. He further explained that the people working at the Restoration Department are professional in their work.
When asked why there was no permit application for such works, Bonnici, in a perplexed tone, rebutted by saying that surely there was no permit to damage the monument. Pressed on the kind of damage being repaired, Bonnici was hard pressed to find a suitable word for guano (bird faeces) and said that he was informed that in cases which involve material or dirt on a historical site or monuments, this would not require a permit. To substantiate his argument he recalled when Hompesch Gate was restored after it had been vandalised saying that such works would not require a permit.
Bonnici said that when experts went on site last Thursday, they found that damage was done to the monument while cleaning the statues. He said that this was caused from dirt and things which were put atop of the monument and should have not been there. He said not taking immediate action would have meant he would have forfeited his responsibilities.